Home Makeover Shows leave out some important realities of the home makeover process.
We are nearing the end of a complete kitchen remodel and I can tell you first hand it is nothing like Extreme Makeover, Trading Spaces, House Crashers and the like. It takes longer, it is messier, and it is more inconvenient.
Here are five things they don't show you on home makeover shows
The Planning Phase
After seeing the beginning state of the room (home), the next scene in the makeover shows is usually "the next day" when they reveal the new design. We don't see the numerous discussions between Joanna Gains and the homeowner. We just see her revealing the Fixer Upper design as if she created it all with no consultation with the customer. At least I hope they have some input.
The real design process can take weeks or months, even if you know what you want.
I knew what I wanted to change about my kitchen, and the general design, but it took weeks of back and forth between the designer and me to choose everything. Some choices to be made:
- floor plan
- cabinet style and color
- specific cabinet type (drawer, pantry, cabinet, angled cabinet, sliders)
- cabinet hardware
- sink and hardware
It took several weeks from first sitting down with the designer to placing the order for the cabinets and countertop. And I still had to decide the last 6 items on that list.
Another thing not explained on the shows is waiting for delivery. Some items will be in stock at your local retailers, but others can take weeks.
Our cabinets were semi custom made to order - 6 weeks for delivery! Then an inspection to make sure everything was ready to install. I needed two new cabinet doors, but my installation was not held up. A friend was not so lucky and needed several new cabinets which delayed her installation several weeks.
The shows often depict the countertop crew measuring one day and installing the next. Unless you are paying a small fortune for expedited service, the cutting process can take 7-10 working days from measure.
Most home remodel projects involve several different subcontractors (demo, drywall repair, electricians, plumbing, installers, flooring, painters, etc.) Each one has to finish before the next crew can come in. No, they don't all work together on the project at the same time like on tv.
The electrician couldn't come for a week after cabinet delivery, so our garage was full of cabinets for an extra 10 days before demo began.
In a few of the shows they do actually depict the homeowners living in the home while the renovations are going on. Many omit this important aspect of remodeling
If you do decide to leave during the process, you will be living in a hotel or family members home, driving back to your home every day to let the contractors in. And they come every day, between 8 and 10.
If you stay in the home, then you are without the room and so much more. My kitchen was stored in the garage and family room and living room. And I was washing dishes in a pedestal sink in the bathroom.
Construction is messy. Dust gets EVERYWHERE! Even though we closed off the construction area with a sheet of plastic, the dust still gets through. And the workers are trampling through other parts of your house and yard.
And if you have curious kids and pets that mess can get tracked beyond the construction zone in the blink of an eye.
All of the crews were great about trying to clean up as they went, but it was a little like trying to eat cookies and brush your teeth at the same time.
The Real Conclusion
The final scene of these makeover shows is the grand reveal. Homeowners are blindfolded then the see the finished space for the first time. Everything is clean, put away, and fully decorated.
No one is going to be presenting me with flowers and covering my eyes for a "tada moment" when the project is done. Instead when the last worker leaves, I will be scrubbing the grout haze from the tile and putting everything away. And then I can get around to adding the decorator touches.
How the TV Shows Get it Right
It may take longer and be more stressful than shown on TV, but when it is finally done I will thoroughly enjoy my beautiful functional kitchen just like they do on TV. And I will still watch my favorite makeover shows while I plan my next makeover.